Could Rush Hour Traffic Prevent Auto Accident Fatalities in Downtown Louisville?


If you regularly negotiate rush hour traffic in downtown Louisville while dealing with drivers weaving through traffic, engaging in aggressive driving practices and otherwise disregarding traffic laws because they are racing to their next destination, the inference typically drawn from this type of experience is that driving in heavily populated urban centers is especially dangerous.  Nonetheless, a number of studies reveal that motorists on sparsely populated country roads face a greater risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash that results in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.  Because our Louisville Auto Collision Lawyers at the Bruce Law Group represent hundreds upon hundreds of clients involved in serious crashes, we have provided an analysis that explains why deserted rural roads may pose the greatest danger to vehicle occupant safety. While large urban areas have the greatest population density and highest traffic, the resulting traffic congestion and increased number of drivers does not result in more accidents or fatalities.  More than half of all injuries and deaths in car accidents across the U.S. and as many as seventy percent in some studies occur in less densely populated rural areas.  While no one likes fighting bumper to bumper traffic jams, heavy congestion in highly populated metro areas slows the speed of traffic. Because speed is a significant factor in terms of both collision and fatality rates, traffic congestion can actually make the roads safer.  Many drivers on country roads fall prey to a false sense of security about traveling at high rates of speed because of the absence of other vehicles.  Although drivers in rural areas account for only slightly more than a quarter of the U.S. population, collisions in these areas comprise almost sixty percent of all accident-related fatalities.  The relationship of increased speed and the disproportionately high number of motor vehicle crashes in rural areas is evidenced by the fact that speed is a significant contributing factors in a third of all car accidents in areas that are less densely populated. According to studies that compare collisions in metro and rural areas, alcohol also tends to be a significant contributing factor.  One study found that a driver involved in a traffic accident in a non-urban area was twelve percent more likely to be driving under the influence than a motorist in a collision in a major city center.  Further, drunk drivers outside urban centers who were involved in collisions also were seven percent more likely to be repeat offenders.  The authors of the study suggest that the tendency to speed and consume alcohol in rural areas is linked to the assumption that the absence of other unsafe drivers makes country roads safer. While those traveling through the rural areas of Kentucky might find this information troubling, the situations appears to be deteriorating rather than improving.  According to the same study, the crash rate in metro areas rose eight percent during the time studied while it declined by nine percent outside metro areas during the same period.  This amounts to almost a twenty percent swing in accident rates between high density areas and more remote unpopulated regions. Although the authors of the study did not reference lighting as a factor, darkness also may be relevant in explaining the elevated risk of being involved in a vehicle collision rates when driving in rural areas at night.  These sparsely populated areas tend to be less brightly lit so that it can be harder for motorist to identify potential hazards and respond in a timely manner. The bottom line is that drivers that disregard the speed limit or drink and drive pose a serious risk of causing catastrophic injury and wrongful death to all others with whom they share the road.  If you or a family member is injured or a loved one dies in a Kentucky traffic collision in Louisville, our experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyers at the Bruce Law Group can answer your questions and explain your rights.  We offer a free consultation so call us today at (502) 489-8887 or contact us via email.